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&hc IHisoti JHirror.
Vol. VI.—No. 30. For The Mirror. OLD JAYSON’S PRAYER. “ Now I lays me down to sleep, To twist in French an’ snore in Greek; If snooks come prowlin’ roun’ my bed, I prays de Lord to smash dey head, I naint step’ none fur nigh a week, I’se pestered so, I sca’ce can speak; If a nightmare do interfere. An’ fillde night wid fright an' fear. May Angel Gabr’el ’proach me near, An r plug dat nightmare in de ear. An’ if dat nightmare still resist De pow’ful fo’ce ob Gabr’el’s fist— O den. kin’ Lord, doan take no chance; But wake Old Jayson up at once! Ob dese nightmares, I heaps can tell, Dev makes me feel like—I f se unwell— An' may my whiskers, now in sprout, Turn tudder end-to, an’ come right out; Dey shape an’ color I admire, Dey looms up like a prairie fire. An’ may my whiskers, Lord I pray, Grow Ah, Stillwater-boom-der-ay! Please hold de rude winds well at bay, Dat dey shall not too roughly play, When I goes out de fust ob May— An’ dis am all. Amen. Good-day.” Shorn Poet, The Parole System an Indispensable Ele ment in the Reformation of Prisoners. Though Parole has had an existence <in one form or other) in the curricul um of our correctional institutions for more than twelve years, it may truly be said to be in its infancy, so far as its practical and possible development is concerned. Even in its present crude and incomplete form, it has proved a most powerful and invincible agent in the diminution of crime and the reclamation of the offender in every State and com munity admitting it as a modus operan di in their prison discipline. In the offi cial records of the States of New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Minnesota, and some other Western States, we find that, out of the entire number liberated un der its provisions, from 95 to 98 per cent, have been permanently restored to the ranks of useful, honorable, law-abiding citizens. If this result has been obtained, notwithstanding all the drawbacks, ob stacles and discouragements arising from popular prejudice, and the persist ent opposition of bigoted and pessimist ic adherents of the doctrines of “ total depravity ” and predestination, may we not reasonably expect a complete over turning and gradual extinction of the criminal element in those communities that endeavor to preserve the manhood and self-respect of their erring fellow citizens by the adoption and practical carrying out of the principle “’Tis never too late to mend!” It is a notorious but indisputable fact, that in those States which have refused or neglected to ad mit the principle of Parole as the corner stone of their prison regulations (more particularly Massachusetts and the other New* England States), crime has been on the increase—and their penal institutions have become, to a greater or less extent, criminal finishing schools rather than reformatory institutions. But, even in Massachusetts, where there is even an attempt at Parole (except in Mass, reformatory), the records of the state prison at Charlestown for the past eight years show, that out of more than 15b pardons granted during that period, but one person returned to the criminal ranks. There is no disguising the fact that wherever the iron-clad “total de pravity” treatment is carried out, crime must necessarily increase in proportion to the population; and, on the contrary, in those institutions where the manhood, self-respect and sense of personal honor of the erring inmate, is preserved and sustained, the reformation and ultimate restoration of the individual to his nor mal condition of honorable citizenship must inevitably result. But the question naturally occurs to the thinking mind, “Of what does the Parole System, as a whole, consist?” “How can it be successfully applied to the peculiar conditions of the pris ons and penitentiaries throughout the American Republic?” The class of pris oners is quite different from those in the “ IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND.” STILLWATER, MINNESOTA, MARCH 2, 1893. Houses of Correction and the Reform atories. In those institutions, the ma jority of the inmates are chronic drunks, tramps, and the lowest class of the in digent poor, while the wards in State Prisons and Penitentiaries are usually individuals higher in the scale of intel lect, education, and social position, who have made a false step in life and are much more amenable to the emotions of repentance, remorse, and virtuous resolves. The fundamental principle underly ing any successful Parole System is that no offender is absolutely incorrigible— that there can be no such thing as “ total depravity;” ergo, that every culprit is, to a greater or less extent, amenable to the curative influence of judicious dis cipline, kindness, reason and personal example. Hence, though the gradation and classification of prisoners is an es sential preliminary to the establishment of a permanent Parole System, there should be no arbitrary exclusion of any one class of prisoners from participation in its benefits. That is to say, that every man, regardless of his length of sentence or the nature of his offense, should be made to understand that he is his own jailor— that the time of his detention within the walls of the prison depends entirely on his own conduct, and on nothing else. The man should be en abled to work out his own salvation— whether he be serving out a life sen tence, or whether he has served more terms than one. If he breaks the con ditions of his parole, he is fully aware that his Nemesis is at his heels, and that he will be relegated to his cell for an in definite period without further trouble or expense to the community. The very fact that he is brought within the operation of the Parole System is the best and surest guarantee to the general public of his reform and reinstatement. He is “on his good behavior,” all the time; as he knows that the slightest re lapse to criminal practice would deprive him of his liberty. It would be invidious and imperti nent to offer any suggestions as to the internal management of the prison. It is presumed, as a matter of course, that, an institution, graded and clas sified in such a manner as to secure the highest possible physical, intel lectual and moral culture necessary to transform its ignorant, reckless, and improvident inmates into self-respect ing, honest, law-abiding citizens, would have at its head a man of large experi ence, commanding presence, and exten sive knowledge of the psychological and physiological make-up of those placed in his care; and that his subordinate officers were all chosen because of their special fitness to carry out his own views with automatic precision and accu racy; and also that all his decisions and deliberations were characterized by that strict integrity, impartiality, and sound judgment which should command the prompt acquiescence and profound re spect of all parties concerned. These facts must be taken for granted, other wise the preparation within the walls of the prison for the privilege of parole would prove a signal failure. There are certain auxiliary agencies, specially designed for the aid and protection of the discharged prisoner, which are a necessary corollary to the reformatory discipline to which he has been sub jected during his imprisonment, and without which all that has been done in that direction would be null and void. We will suppose, for the sake of argu ment, that the discharged prisoner has received the percentage of his earnings which have accumulated during his time of sentence, that he has called on the state agent for instruction and in troductions to business, and that he has strenuously resolved to live an hon est and reputable life in the future. He starts out on his journeys in search of employment with the firm resolve to efface the stigma of his prison life by a career of usefulness and honor, but he is met at every point with disappoint ment, indifference, or possibly contume ly. He travels day after day, from noon until night, arriving foot sore and de spondent at his lonely lodging, without friend to converse or advise with; if he obtains casual employment, he is never safe from the jealous espionage or vin dictive annoyance of meddlesome in former or former dissolute associate. He is cold-shouldered by the quasi professor or would-be respectable citi zen. He is socially boycotted, friend less and without resource, other than that supplied by his rapidly diminish ing wallet. He sees no alternative be fore him but positive starvation or a return to crime! This is no over charged picture—it is the harrowing experience of hundreds and thousands of the unhappy, friendless wretches daily discharged from prison gates, in Christian communities professedly fol lowing the dictates ot that Divine Mas ter who said; “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” The first and most important outside auxiliary to the Parole System, is a properly organized employment agency, and industrial home, wherein the ex convict can obtain immediate employ ment at current rates until suitable is found for him else where, and from whence he can obtain a passport to more permanent occupa tion, without fear of interruption, so V>ng as his own conduct shall remain blameless. ('onnected with this, direct ly or indirectly,there should be respect able hoarding houses, where decent board and lodging could be obtained, at a little over cost price, and where he could be protected from evil associa tions or doubtful surroundings, and so regulated as to make late hours or im proper companionship an impossibility. There is, however, a still greater dan ger which the ex-prisoner has to en counter—and that is adequate provi sion for his hours of leisure or recrea tion. The long work day evenings aft er six o’clock and the Sunday and holi day hold out to the lonely, friendless man temptations the power of which those experiencing the happiness of the family circle and the advantages of the Public Library or Lecture Hall cannot form a conception. Why should the honest and earnest seeker after a better life be denied these pleasures? The work of reform initiated within prison walls, and developed by the parole and remunerative employment, must be supplemented by congenial social asso ciations, open-hearted, cordial friend ships, and brotherly conferences—other wise all the previous efforts at rein statement of the wandering brother are worse than fruitless. A hearty hand grasp and cordial welcome to the ele vating influences of the family fireside and the social assembly, is of greater intrinsic value and efficacy to the re pentant returning prodigal than all the ostentatious professions and cold, cheerless offers of pecuniary assistance which some philanthropists so profuse ly put forth. If, as we have said, an effective Pa role System, founded on the principles enunciated in the parable of the Good Samaritan, be carried out and enforced, supplemented by these necessary pro visions for the reception, sustenance and protection of the discharged pris oner —if this system should be perma nently organized in every State in the Union, our criminal population would speedily be reduced to one-tenth its pres ent magnitude; two-thirds of our prisons and poor-farms would be transformed into hives of honest industry, the ranks of our skilled artisans, and other indus tries, would be augmented by hosts of willing workers, and the United States of America would become the ideal home of the honest searcher after hap piness, prosperity and social harmony. Charlestown, Mass. F. J. G. Fishlike. Uncle Jake: Some men, Ike, is like sharks, werry owdacious; an’ some is flat, like floundahs, only flattah. But dere’s one thing wharin all men is like some kinder fish or anuddah. Man keep he mouf shet, he safe. Same wid fish.— Puck. Try to frequent the company of your betters in books and in life. This is the most wholesome society. Tcdud . j sl-00 per year, in advance. I erms. ( Months 50 Cents. The Farmer’s Wife. Sometime ago, The Mirror alluded editorially to the causes that are in some measure responsible for the unattract iveness of the farmer’ slife, and affecting adversely the farming interest. Hut the writer knows of no one cause more re sponsible for whatever there may be of physical degeneracy among the farming population than the treatment of its child-bearing women; and this, after all, is but a result of entire devotion to the tyrannical idea of labor. If there be one office or character higher than all others, it is the office or character of mother. Surely, the bringing into existence of so marvellous a thing as a human being, and the training of that being until it assumes a recognized relation to God and human society, is a sacred office, and one which does not yield in dignity and importance to any other under heav en. For a woman who faithfully fulfills this office, who submits without mur muring to all its pains, who patiently performs its duties, and who exhausts her life in a ceaseless overflow' of love upon those w hom God has given her, no w'ords can express a true man’s venera tion. She claims the homage of our hearts, the service of our hands, the de votion of our lives. The farmer is careful of every animal he possesses. The farm-yard and the stall are replenished with young, by creatures for months dismissed from labor, or handled with intelligent care while carrying their burden; because the farmer know's that only in this way can he secure improvement, and souncl, symmetrical development, to the stock of his farm. In this he is a true, practi cal philosopher. But what is his treat ment of her who bears his children ? The same physiological laws apply to her that apply to the brute. Their strict ob servance is greatly more imperative, be cause of her finer organizat on; yet they are not thought of; and if the farm-yard fail to shame the nursery, if the mother bear beautiful and w'ell-organized chil dren, Heaven be thanked for a merciful interference with the operation of its own law's! Is the mother in a farm house ever regarded as a sacred being? Look at her hands! Look at her face! Look at her bent and clumsy form! Is it more important to raise fine colts than fine men and women? Is human life to be made secondary and subordi nate to animal life? Is not she who should receive the tenderest and most considerate ministries of the farmer’s home, in all its appointments and in all its service, made the ceaseless minister and servant of the home and all within it, with utter disregard of her ottice? To expect a population to improve greatly under this method is simply to expect miracles; and to expect a farm er's life and a farmer’s home to be at tractive, where the mother is a drudge, and secures less consideration than the pets of the stall, is to expect impossibil ities. Jessup Jepson. A true bill was returned by the Grand Jury at the Kent (England) Assizes against a man for feloniously wound ing, with intent to murder, two young ladies. Upon the case being called, the medical officer of the goal gave evidence to the effect that the prisoner, since his removal to prison, had had five epileptic fits, and that at the present time he was not in a fit state to understand the na ture of an oath. Other experts also gave it as their opinion that prisoner was insane. Judgment was given ac cordingly. If this prisoner’s case was inquired into, the hereditary weakness here shown would probably be one of drink. It is beyond doubt that an epileptic is the result of parental drunk enness in very many cases.— The Hu manitarian. A German has succeeded in making good brandy out of sawdust. That’s the stuff. When a man can take a rip saw and get drunk on a rail fence, sump tuary law will have no further terrors lor him.— Ex.